47 Long Haul Flight Essentials to Carry On
Last Updated on October 20, 2023 by Dana Berez
Long Flight Essentials
You may either love or hate a long-haul flight, but either way, you’ll be buckled up for a long plane ride.
However, if you plan ahead and bring these long-flight essentials you’ll be more comfortable on your flight.
I have taken dozens of long-haul-flights international flights across many time zones and have mastered what to bring to make the flight more enjoyable and comfortable- especially if I’m flying economy and it’s an overnight flight.
And to make the flight even more enjoyable, read my tips on how to survive a long-haul flight to reduce jet lag.
Now here are the long-flight essentials that you need to pack in your carry-on bag to ensure a pleasant trip, and to arrive at your destination on the right note.
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Carry On Bag
Don’t overlook your carry-on bag. You have to be strategic.
You’ll want to bring a bag that works for you and your needs, but you won’t want one that’s too big and takes up way too much of your legroom. (If you’re in economy class this is very important)
Always put your larger bag in the overhead compartment, but I like to keep a plane bag with all of my in-flight essentials within easy reach. That way I won’t have to keep getting up and opening the overhead bin rummaging to find something.
I’ve had this carry-on duffle bag from Amazon and it fits everything I need, but it also slides underneath the seat in front of me on the plane. It is a medium size, but if you don’t overpack it- you’ll have a bit more legroom.
Reusable Water Bottle
The number one thing you must bring on a long-haul flight is a reusable water bottle.
You’ll want to combat dehydration, especially if you want to land refreshed. And during a long flight, there is a high chance of you becoming dehydrated if you don’t drink enough water.
While you can always ask the flight attendants for some water, it is always best to be prepared and have your own water bottle and sip when you need a drink.
When bringing your own bottle, you can use it on your trip, and buying water after the security checkpoint is VERY expensive.
Bring your favorite bottle, or opt for a collapsible water bottle to save room in your carry-on bag.
Pro tip: During a long-haul flight I always ask the flight attendants to refill my reusable water bottle instead of the plastic cups they give out.
This keeps me hydrated and you can screw on your water bottle cap and put it away, rather than having your tray table out worried your water might spill!
If you are one of those people who can sleep on a long-haul flight, I’m very jealous of you!
Whether you can fall asleep quickly or need help getting there, a sleeping eye mask will help you fall asleep and is a long flight essential.
Eye masks will block out cabin lights, your neighbor’s TV, or reading lights that will interfere with your sleep. You’ll want to prevent any blue light from screens.
If you are flying on an international flight, you’ll want to get sleep on the flight to get in the right time zone and reduce any jet lag.
This sleep mask from Amazon blocks out light by limiting any gaps. Plus it’s comfortable on the face. A must for any red-eye international flight.
Travel Neck Pillow
Another item to help you sleep is a travel neck pillow. Some airlines give you a small pillow, but it really doesn’t give you support.
I like this adjustable neck pillow because you can find the most comfortable position- which is perfect for those who can’t fall asleep on planes easily.
Plus, It can also be used for different parts of the body including your back legs, and arms.
Pro Tip: If you want to sleep, opt for a Window seat so you can lean on it without interruption from fellow passengers getting up from their seats.
The aisle seat isn’t the best if you want to sleep as you may be interrupted but I personally feel less cramped in the aisle and I get up as I please.
If you don’t own a pair of noise-canceling headphones, definitely bring some earplugs.
They will ensure that you can block out the noise to get some sleep during your flight and are not distracted by surrounding noise in the cabin. They are so small, but they really do make a difference!
These earplugs come in a 10-pack with a carrying case.
If you know bringing a travel pillow, eye mask, and earplugs still won’t help you fall asleep, you might want to consider a sleep aid to help you sleep during your flight.
A common natural sleep aid is melatonin. Melatonin sleep aids have the hormone your body creates in response to darkness and will help regulate your circadian rhythm naturally.
You can get Melatonin in a gummy form or capsule form.
On an airplane, especially a long-haul flight, you don’t stand up or walk around as much.
So to help promote circulation through your legs and to avoid your legs and feet from getting swollen, always pack a pair of compression socks. Look for ones that go to your knee.
Over time, your legs can develop deep vein thrombosis and blood clots.
This 3 pack of compression socks is a best seller on Amazon with over 58,000 positive reviews.
Tip: Don’t forget to get up and stretch out your legs and feet by walking around the cabin.
Keeping our devices charged is very important, especially on a long flight. So I like to pack a portable charger that can charge my phone and other batteries on the go.
Airplanes typically have an outlet and USB charging ports where you can charge your devices- but life happens and they may not work on your flight.
A portable charger is also a great thing to carry with you when you are exploring the place you visit so you are not caught with a dead phone.
Silicone Cord Ties
If you’re traveling with a lot of electronics that use cords to charge, you’ll want to get these silicone cord ties to keep things organized.
This is especially helpful on a long-haul flight because you won’t be searching around your charger when they are neatly organized!
I always pack my noise-canceling headphones on any flight- even if it’s under an hour. They will cancel out all of the surrounding noise (crying babies, conversations, snoring) plus make whatever you’re listening to much clearer.
While airlines give out headphones, they are pretty bad quality and don’t remove any sound around you.
I’ve been using the Jabra 85H over-the-ear noise-canceling headphones for years now. While on the pricier side, they are extremely comfortable to wear even for long periods of time.
Long-haul flights normally have TVs with entertainment for you to watch.
But if you’re wanting to use your own entertainment, bringing a phone mount might be more comfortable for you rather than holding your phone the entire flight.
Now some budget airlines sometimes don’t have TVs- so definitely check before you board.
If you want to use airplane TVs with your own headphones you have to remember to bring the aux cord to plug into the airplane TVs. (circular mount)
In the age of Bluetooth everything, some headphones like the Apple AirPods don’t even have this feature.
So if you want to use your Bluetooth headphones, you have to bring this Adapter that works with the airplane TV and connects to your wireless headphones.
You’ll be wire-free and will be able to use your own headphones.
Just think about the number of people that have sat in the same seat as you, touching the window shade and the air vents.
And if you are unsure if these high touch points have been sanitized in between uses? They probably haven’t.
Pack your own antibacterial wipes just to be extra cautious and wipe down your area before your flight- even in business class.
These are never bad things to have on hand.
Hand sanitizer is an absolute must-have for long-flight essentials.
You aren’t always going to have a sink to wash your hands in, especially if there is a long line for the bathrooms.
Of course, hand sanitizer is no substitute for washing your hands but it’s better than nothing.
I love this hand sanitizer because they use essential oils so not only do they smell really good but they aren’t going to dry out your hands.
My hands get extremely dry on an airplane. Using sanitizer and bathroom soap just fries out my sin.
Pack a small hand cream to ensure that your hands don’t get dried out and stay moisturized. I like to bring a small L’Occitane hand cream that is made with 20% shea butter which actually hydrates my skin.
Face Sheet Mask
It’s a long flight… might as well implement a little spa moment. Yes, I’m that person that will wear a sheet mask at some point during my flight.
Packing a sheet face mask will provide you with intense hydration and give your skin back the moisture that’s removed in the duration of a long-haul flight.
For a long-haul flight, I like bringing sheet masks with hyaluronic acid to really plump the skin.
You can also bring some under-eye patches to even further your sky-high spa moment.
Just because you’re on a flight doesn’t mean you can skip skincare! I like to bring at least a hydrating facial moisturizer with me along with facial serum to keep my skin hydrated.
This in-flight face mask is a lifesaver. I slather this on and my skin looks much plumper and less dull after the flight.
To keep my hair from getting oily on a flight, I like to pack some hair ties to keep it out of my face.
I recently picked up these 100% silk scrunchies and they are so soft in your hair and won’t make an indent like other hair ties do.
For the book lovers out there, an E-reader is great for reading while traveling because you can bring more than one book without taking too much room in your suitcase.
The best one on the market is the Amazon Kindle. You can also have a subscription with Amazon so your next great read is around the corner.
Or if you’re a classic reader like me, you’ll want to bring a good book that will entertain you during your flight.
If you’re looking for a good book recommendation, I recently read Dark Matter and my brain just exploded! It’s a fast-paced mind-blowing read perfect for any long-haul flight.
My eyes get SO dry on a long-haul flight from the dry air and bringing some eye lubricant is a must!
It’s a must if you’re going to be watching the TV in front of you, or if you can’t fall asleep. Your eyes will feel lubricated and more comfortable for the long journey ahead
Eye drops for Red Eyes
On that note, if you suffer from eye redness or want to get rid of the red eyes that come with long flights (they are called red eyes for a reason) you’ll want to pack these eye redness reducer drops.
These don’t necessarily hydrate your eyes, but they get rid of redness in your eyes making you look refreshed once you land.
Don’t forget your readers if you need them. These will come in handy if you are going to be reading a book on the plane.
And if you are a contact lens wearer- ditch the contacts and bring your glasses. You are not going to want to wear contact lenses during your flight.
Your eyes will become so irritated and even drier than they will already get.
Is anyone else guilty of using the airplane bathroom many times on a long flight? I get up so much, and wearing sneakers that are easy to get on and off will make the trip there much more convenient.
Once you are settled into your seat kick off your shoes. If you have to use the bathroom or it is time to land then they are easy to slip on again without having to tie your shoes.
These will also come in handy even before you get on your flight.
If you need to get your shoes off at security you can easily slip them on and off for a smoother process.
Airplane air is dry, and to combat it make sure you pack a lip balm to keep your lips moisturized. Licking your lips will just make it worse.
My favorite lip balm to bring on my long flights is the Weleda Lip Butter– it’s super rich and is made with plant oils that hydrate very dry lips.
Mints and gum
Let’s be polite to our fellow passengers, and to ourselves for that matter. During a long flight, your breath is going to get a little funky.
Gum and mints are great for snacking on and refreshing your breath during the flight and especially when getting off the plane.
Typically for a long-haul flight, you’ll have a meal service shortly after take-off, and a meal service right before landing.
The food on airplanes isn’t as bad as you may think, but if you’re on a specific diet or prefer more options- I’d pack a snack bag.
While you can shop for snacks at the airport, they are extremely overpriced and they may not have what you like.
Some of my go-to airplane snacks include:
- Nuts (there is usually an allergy announcement if someone is allergic on the plane)
- Squeezeble Peanut Butter
- Beef jerky
- String cheese (eat these near take-off)
- Trail Mix
Comfortable Travel Outfit
On any long flight, you’ll want to dress comfortably! I have plenty of airplane outfit inspiration on the blog, but here are the things I look for when planning my airport outfit.
I like to wear lightweight stretchy items that I can layer on if I get warm or cool. I opt for loose sweatpants and a loose-fitting top.
Two-piece sets always look put together on a plane. I also look for breathable materials like cotton.
And for the ladies, this Spanx bra (save 10% code DANAXSPANX) is the MOST comfortable bra and perfect for long flights.
There are no wires or uncomfortable straps and it’s my go-to for travel days.
Tip: Avoid wearing sweatpants with elastic ankle openings. When sitting down the elastic rides up and causes it to tighten on your leg. It’s really uncomfortable and I avoid it at all costs.
Change of Clothes
I always like to pack a change of clothes along with an extra pair of underwear.
After sitting on a long flight, it’s a great idea to change your clothes once you land. You’ll feel like a brand new person.
Chances are that once you land, you might have a long car or train ride ahead to get to your final destination.
Plus, if your luggage gets lost (a worst-case scenario), at least you have some clean clothes to wear while you wait for your bag.
Depending on the airline that you fly or the cabin class that you are in. You may or may not get a blanket during your flight.
This best-selling travel blanket from Amazon is so warm and soft. It comes with a case to pack it in when you are not using it, which doubles as a travel pillow.
And the great thing is you can use this blanket beyond your flight. Hotels don’t usually have cozy blankets you can snuggle in, and it’s perfect for comfort in your room!
I always have random thoughts and ideas on a long flight. Carrying a small notebook ensures that I have a place to capture all of those ideas in one place.
If you are sitting next to someone who has been to your destination, you can also write down any recommendations from them as well.
While it may seem unnecessary, having a pen is essential for filling out immigration forms before you land.
To this day, I still get asked to borrow a pen because my neighbors have not read this post!
It’s just a great thing to have on your flight for wiring down notes, or vacation planning ideas.
Aside from your carry-on, it is always a good idea to have a good travel purse (see your airline carry-on policy) for quick access to things like your cell phone, charger, wallet, etc.
You don’t want to be the person that is making everyone in their row get up every time they want to grab something from their carry-on. If you know you are going to be reaching for something, then keep on your person.
You can keep this bag under the seat in front of you, or I’ve been loving having a small cross-body belt bag to keep all my immediate essentials.
It’s not completely necessary to have all of your toiletries with you (shampoo, conditioner, etc) but you’ll want to have a few items that will keep you fresh on the flight.
I’ve listed below the top things to have with you during a long trip like deodorant, toothpaste, and toothbrush, mouthwash, etc.
To find your essentials faster, using clear bags will help you see where your items are.
It’s a good idea to bring your own tissues. They have multi-purpose for blowing your nose, cleaning up a spill, or wiping your hands.
I like to bring the small travel-size pack just in case!
These can be used for wiping your hands clean after eating and on your face to freshen up your skin.
A key item to have on any long-haul flight is some deodorant. You most likely won’t have access to a shower and after a few hours, things might get a little smelly.
I always pack deodorant and use it if needed on the plane.
Toothpaste & Toothbrush
Brushing your teeth on a plane is game-changing!
I recommend brushing your teeth before you want to fall asleep sleep (or attempt to sleep) and once before you leave your flight. You’ll feel refreshed and it will signal to your body it’s time to go to bed.
Bring your own water bottle to the bathroom and use it rather than airplane water.
Let’s stay on top of our oral hygiene routines and use the mouthwash that we love.
I always pack a travel-sized container for in-flight so that I can use it during my flight and right before we land.
If you get sore just thinking about sitting cramped in an airplane seat, you have to bring some Tiger Balm.
This balm is made with camphor and menthol and provides a cooling feeling to your skin which is great for topical relief for any sore muscles and stiffness.
Liquid IV / Vitamin C Packets
I like to bring a few packs of Liquid IV or the Emergen-c vitamin C packets to mix with my water for extra electrolytes, and hydration.
Flying is super dehydrating and these packets are quick and easy to replenish your electrolytes and keep you hydrated.
Airplane Foot Hammock
At first, I thought this item was a bit gimmicky and that it wouldn’t work.
But I am here to tell you that is so genius! This foot hammock wraps around the tray table and it elevates your feet and provides pressure relief from your lower back and legs, which is essential for any long-haul flight.
The only con is that if you have bigger feet it won’t be as comfortable but if you have smaller feet it will work just fine. I’d consider this if you are on a flight over 8 hours or are in economy.
Before you head on your flight, overprepare and make sure that you have all of your travel documents including passport, travel insurance, visa (if required) return flight information, and any other pertinent documents that you will need to present at any time during your travels.
It’s best to print out these documents to have on hand, along with a printed copy of your passport.
A travel wallet will ensure that your credit cards, important documents, identification, and money are all in one safe place with it being easily accessible while you’re on the plane.
There is nothing worse than the “I don’t know where my passport is” thought after you go through hectic security.
This travel wallet from Amazon has RFID-blocking technology that will ensure that your financial and personal information is protected while traveling.
Plus this wallet is great for when you are sightseeing at your destination.
It’s best to treat your most important document with some love. I like having mine in a bright-colored passport holder.
This will help keep your document secured and stored properly, and I can easily see if spot it in my bag when I need to reach for it.
First Aid Kit
Bringing your own first aid kit is for those “just in case moments”. You never know what life will throw at you, and you may be in a situation where you need a bandaid, ointment, etc.
You can get a pre-made first aid kit from Amazon, or you can put bandaids, ointment, and alcohol prep pads in your own ziplock.
If you are prone to severe motion sickness, it’s a good idea to pack some Dramamine to prevent any sickness.
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Hope you enjoyed this list of long-flight essentials. These items will make your long-haul flight much more comfortable, and should I say enjoyable! Leave a comment below if I forgot your favorite item.
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